Still Brunch of Champions? San Lorenzo’s Review by Niamh Mannion
Somebody should have warned me…
In retrospect, it might not have been the best idea to arrive ravenously hungry to brunch in San Lorenzo’s on Dublin’s South Great George’s Street. My eyes were bigger than my stomach and fuelled by hunger, I may have over-estimated the amount I could eat. They don’t call this the #BrunchofChampions without reason but that didn’t mean that I had to look upon it as a challenge!
Arriving at 10.30am on a beautiful, sunny Sunday morning just as the restaurant opened its doors, I was astonished to see how quickly the tables filled up. Granted, the surroundings are stylishly trendy and have an air of urban chic about them but the enthusiasm of the prospective diners to place their brunch orders indicated that this was somewhere that was about more than just being seen in the latest fashionable spot.
San Lorenzo’s has a 75 minute seating time limit which I was informed about when booking my table. This didn’t present a problem as I had another appointment immediately afterwards and in fact, I considered this further evidence of the apparent popularity of the brunch menu – a good sign!
Brunch is one of my favourite meals; it smacks of rising late and dining in a leisurely fashion with all manner of sweet and savoury goodies to tempt the taste buds! Experts tell us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and we all know the benefits of eating a balanced diet but sometimes you yearn for something extravagant and a little bit naughty to eat, especially if suffering the after-effects of over-indulgence from the night before!
After being seated we ordered breakfast cocktails to sip on as we decided on what to eat; a Zombie, made with rum, pineapple juice, passion fruit and Angostura bitters for me and an Espresso Martini for my friend Eithne. The Zombie, despite being very boozy was a perfect brunch drink with lovely fruity and refreshing elements but the Espresso Martini? Well… this was in a league of its own! It was absolutely superb and with my tendency towards hedonistic excess I find it amazing that I have never tried one before. It was delicious, easy to drink and a great pick-me-up; strongly recommended for anyone who loves coffee and even those who don’t.
The menu has many tempting dishes on it and we found it hard to choose just one each to order. I was determined to try the Lobster Benedict but was also finding the allure of the intriguing sounding Coco Pops Crunchy French Toast hard to resist. In the end, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I unleashed my inner glutton and ordered both! Not to be outdone, Eithne decided to go for the Baked Ham followed by the French Toast Stack.
At €23.95, the Lobster Benedict is not cheap but for the quality of the perfectly cooked lobster alone, this was a dish that was worth every cent. Lobster has a natural sweetness when cooked well and the accompanying tomato/pepper sauce accentuated this. Topped with a marie-rose like hollandaise sauce and with some grilled spears of asparagus, this was a truly decadent dish. Although I’m more used to eggs benedict served on split and toasted English muffins, I loved the toasted plain bagels on which the lobster was placed. The chewy texture of the bagels stood up far better to the wonderfully runny poached ages and the other elements of the dish than toasted muffins would have. Heavenly!
Eithne’s Baked Ham consisted of a generous portion of warm sliced baked ham topped with two poached eggs coated in a buttery hollandaise sauce. Along with some peppery watercress and grilled asparagus, this was a dish that excelled because of its simplicity – a dish using quality ingredients which had been flawlessly prepared and cooked.
The French Toast Stack was made using 4 slices of thickly-sliced rich and buttery brioche which soaked up the eggy custard in which it was soaked before being fried off. Presented with 6 slices of crispy, lightly smoked bacon and a plentiful amount of maple syrup, this dish was a winner.
My When Harry Met Sally moment came upon taking my first bite of the much anticipated Coco Pops Crunchy French Toast. All I can say is… OH… MY… GOD…! It was unbelievable! I dread to think how any calories it contained but it tasted so good. Again brioche (two slices this time) had been soaked in eggy custard to which Coco pops had been added before being fried. The bottom layer was smeared with peanut butter which gave a wonderful nutty saltiness that was completely addictive. A large blob of lightly whipped cream and some sliced bananas may have been overkill to some, but I was in a state of profound ecstasy… oh, and did I mention the chocolate sauce…? The extravagance of this dish was something to behold, but I loved it – every single mouthful.
Needless to say, after all this excess, I was unable to eat a full meal for nearly two days, but it was worth it. Lighter dishes are available, but every now-and-again it’s nice to give in to temptation.
This is not the place to come to if you want a lazy and languorous meal to ease you into the day. The music is loud, the tables are placed close together and everything is a little fast-paced… but the waiting staff are friendly and attentive and the food was wonderful. I can’t wait to return.
Brunch is served in San Lorenzo’s on Saturdays, Sundays and most Bank Holidays; 10.30am-3.00pm.
Niamh believes Ireland produces some of the best food in the world, and travels around the country; seeking out the best food producers, and places to eat.
An accomplished cook and baker, Niamh is also a previous MasterChef Ireland finalist. During the competition she had the opportunity to cook in some of Ireland’s top restaurants and experience life on the other side of the kitchen pass.
Working with TheTaste allows Niamh to write about her experiences and to share her passion for food and cooking with a wide audience.
Visit Niamh’s blog The Game Bird Food Chronicles.